Culture,sport and ideology in kenya in the aftermath of manchester 2002

Por: R. Chappell.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Analysed in the context of being a developing country, Kenya has been remarkably successful in international sport. Taking into account research by Nevill (2002) which indicates a high correlation (0.71) between the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country and their success at the Olympic Games, Kenya has been one of the most successful countries at the Olympic Games along with Cuba and Ethiopia. The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between culture, sport and political ideology in Kenya in the aftermath of the Commomwealth Games in Manchester 2002.


Research was conducted on the structure of sport in Kenya during a three-week period in August 2002, during and after the Commonwealth Games. Time was spent in the capital Nairobi, in the Rift Valley to the north of Naroibi, and in the coastal city of Mombasa. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals on the basis of their involvement, or their knowledge of sport in Kenya.


Closer scrutiny of their successes reveals that much of Kenya’s success has been achieved in middle-and long-distance running. Kenyan runners have had remarkable successes at the Olympic Games, the International Amateur Athletic Championships (IAAF), and the Commonwealth Games. Kenya had been the highest finisher of the African nations at previous Commonwealth Games, but at Manchester 2002, Cameroon was the most successful African nation.

Discussion/ Conclusions

In Kenya there is much international, national and regional interest in a wide variety of sports for men and women. But the problems Kenya faces in developing sport are immense as it has far more pressing problems to address such as abject poverty, a HIV/AIDS pandemic, and a political system dogged by tribalism and corruption. Hence, interest focuses not on the disappointing results from Manchester 2002, but on the new President, Mwai Kibabi, in the hope that under a more democratic system there will be greater economic and social development that will affect sport in a positive manner.


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[2]. Haugerus, A. (1993) The culture and politics of modern Kenya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
[3]. Nevill, A. (2002, July 23). The relationship between national sporting success and gross national product: A law of diminishing returns. Paper presented at the Commonwealth International Sport Conference, Manchester England.
[4]. Wamukoya, E.K., & Hardman, K. (1992). Physical education in Kenyan secondary schools. British Journal of Physical Education, 23, 30-33.







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